Local News Archives

Wendzel Wins 79th State House Seat

Pauline Wendzel is headed to the state House. The Watervliet native defeated Democrat Joey Adams in the race to succeed state Senator-elect Kim LaSata on Tuesday and spoke to WSJM News after declaring victory. Wendzel says auto insurance reform will be her top priority in Lansing after hearing that throughout the district as she went door-to-door over the last several months.. ...Read Full Story

Homelessness Among Veterans Going Down

The rate of homelessness among Michigan veterans continues to trend down. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development this week released its Annual Homeless Assessment Report, which found the total number of reported veterans experiencing homelessness in the state in 2018 was down 10.3%. The number of homeless vets in Michigan has also declined by 28% since 2010. HUD says, nationally, veteran homelessness in 2018 decreased 5.4% since last year, and nearly 50% since 2010. Veterans Administration Secretary Robert Wilkie says the new numbers show strategies being implemented to fight homelessness among veterans have been working.. ...Read Full Story

Local Transportation Study Workshop Planned

A study on the future of transportation in the St. Joseph and Benton Harbor areas will be discussed at an open house next week. “Principles in Motion” is the new Long Range Transportation Plan for the area. It’s been put together by the Twin Cities Area Transportation Study, or TwinCATS. TwinCATS tells us the study uses the input of local officials while setting transportation goals and looking at how to spend federal money. The plan is intended to serve as a blueprint for transportation over the next 25 years in the Twin Cities area. An open house for everyone to see what’s in it and chat with planners will be held next Tuesday. It will be at the Southwest Michigan Planning Commission office in Benton Harbor from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. You can learn more about the transportation plan right here.. ...Read Full Story

Man Serving Life For 1996 Decapitation Gets Resentencing

From the Associated Press — A western Michigan man serving life in prison without parole for killing and decapitating a teen in 1996 and mutilating the head in front of a video camera is getting a chance at a new sentence. Federico Cruz, who was 16 at the time of the killing, was convicted of murder and got the mandatory sentence after a jury rejected an insanity defense in the
slaying of 17-year-old David Crawford. Cruz suffocated Crawford. He cut off the victim’s head, took it home and mutilated it.
Cruz, now 39, asked Judge Dennis Leiber on Monday for an eventual chance at parole. Leiber plans to decide Wednesday.
Cruz and many Michigan juvenile lifers who are serving no-parole sentences are eligible for a new hearing because of a U.S. Supreme Court decision.. ...Read Full Story

SMC Students Fight Invasive Species

Students at Southwestern Michigan College have had a chance to learn about local invasive plant species and also fight them on their campus in Dowagiac. SMC Agriculture Tech Coordinator Stacey Rocklin tells WSJM News a group of about 50 looked for invaders at the college’s pollinator field on October 26.. ...Read Full Story

MSU Forum To Examine If Term Limits Are Working

Are Michigan’s term limits working? That question will be tackled by the Michigan State University Institute for Public Policy Research on November 14 during a forum in downtown Lansing. Voters amended the state constitution in 1992 to enact term limits, allowing for three two-year terms in the House, and two terms in all other state offices from the Senate to the governor. John Engler was the state’s last three-term governor, and both Jennifer Granholm and Rick Snyder after him have served two terms. There will be a huge turnover come January 1 in the state Legislature, with 70% of the Senate term-limited and 20% of the House having to leave office. Critics of the law say while it was well-meaning, it has allowed lobbyists to become the state’s real policy makers, with no limits on how long they can have those jobs.. ...Read Full Story

ID Not Needed To Vote And Other Things To Know

There are some basic rules if you are not a regular voter on this midterm Election Day in Michigan. One thing you do not need to vote is a photo ID. Sure, state law requires it, and it will make going through the line faster, but even if you don’t have a driver’s license or a state ID card, all you need to do is say that and sign an affidavit swearing you are who you say you are. You are allowed to take in a list of candidates you plan to vote for. Secretary of State Ruth Johnson says you may need that cheat sheet.. ...Read Full Story

Lake Michigan Swimmer Dies Near Chicago

From the Associated Press — Authorities say a 46-year-old man has died and a 52-year-old woman is missing after going swimming in hazardous waters in Lake Michigan near a Chicago suburb. The city of Highland Park says in a statement the Elgin woman and the Itasca man were part of a group of about 10 people in a “cold weather swim group” that went in the lake Sunday morning at Park Avenue Beach amid huge waves and gale-force winds. An autopsy performed Monday revealed that Stanislaw Wlosek Jr. drowned. A witness says some men tried unsuccessfully to throw the woman a line. A Coast Guard helicopter from Traverse City, Michigan, searched the area Sunday. Police in Illinois and Wisconsin are watching for the missing swimmer.. ...Read Full Story

Anti-Hate Vigil Held In Benton Harbor

It was a packed house at The Citadel in Benton Harbor Monday night as members of several faiths gathered to remember the victims of last month’s shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. The vigil was organized by the First Hebrew Congregation of South Haven, Temple B’Nai Shalom in Benton Harbor, and the Andrews University Interfaith Committee. First Hebrew’s Barry Fidelman told us apathy was to blame for the violence.. ...Read Full Story

Clerk Gives Voting Advice

The Berrien County Clerk’s Office is hard at work preparing for Tuesday’s elections. Clerk Sharon Tyler tells us voters will want to give themselves more time to cast their ballots due to the loss of straight ticket voting and high turnout. She says the county has new election equipment to make things smoother, and the ballots are a bit different.. ...Read Full Story